Moondog – Moondog
An Album review by Rowan Blair Colver
Something to tingle your eclectic taste buds, Moondog presents itself as a rather odd looking outcrop on a landscape of mediocre and drab productions we remember from the late 60s. Something tells us that this is going to be a bit different, the title immediately throws our mind out of the atmosphere and into the lunar orbit. Not only does it do this, but it places the curious and friendly persona of our beloved canine best friends at our dashboard, allowing us to truly be taken out of the body.
Made in 1969 by what some may have called a local crazy, or a misunderstood genius, Moondog, or the Viking of 6th Avenue as he was dotingly named back then, would often wander around the busy streets in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s wearing Nordic clothing. You may expect nothing short of madness on tape when we hear what he has created but when we take another look, we're given beautiful mastery of skill. It turns out, this single person was responsible for the creation of several brand new musical instruments and although unknown to his neighbours, was enjoying a good musical career almost behind closed doors.
It's not long before the violin and jazzy folk made movements cut to pure poetry. Literally spoken word cuts through the cinematic music and teaches us nuggets from the mind of a now late Louis Thomas Hardin, who lived until 1999, aged 83. Familiar melodies are found whistling through the bars and we're given the of that this musician is more influential that we first realised. Testing the borders of jazz, classical, minimal and art, Moondog has left a gift for us in the shape of impressive, unique and inspirational music.
Although the music is incredible and way beyond its time even today, we can feel the sense of the period seeping through the notes like a time machine as even though our perspective is from the future, the music means something now and connects us to then. The thing that I find the most endearing and captivating isn't found in the scoring, however, its the fact that for the most of his life, Moondog was blind.
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